Professor Giovanna Lombardi
Professor of Human Transplant Immunology
& Mucosal Biology
Date started at King’s
Challenges and achievements
Biography highlighting any professional achievements and milestones which are important to you.
I started my scientific career in Rome at the University ‘La Sapienza’. I moved to the UK in 1987 and started my scientific career in the UK at the Hammersmith Hospital in the Department of Immunology. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer and then Reader in the same Department in 1995 and 2002, respectively. In 2005 I moved to KCL in the Division of Transplant Immunology and Mucosal Biology as a Reader and I become Professor in 2008. I am now the head of the Department of Immunoregulation and Immunointervention and co-lead of the Cluster I of the BRC.
A brief summary of your research interests, grants awarded and publications
During the first few years in the UK I was involved in dissecting the mechanisms behind solid organ graft rejection and contributed to dissecting the molecular basis of allorecognition. At the end of 1990 I contributed to the discovery of human regulatory T cells and since then I have built a research programme aiming to understand more about the biology of these cells and ultimately using this population of cells to induce tolerance in patients receiving solid organ transplants. I am now ready to start two clinical trials in which Tregs will be used to prevent kidney and liver transplant rejections.
Any details you wish to share about how being female has impacted upon your career (positively or negatively)
The biggest challenge in my life has been to combine my scientific career with my personal life. I had two children late in life and for more than 10 years they were my priority. I decided to stop travelling to any meeting outside the UK and I am sure that my international image suffered as a consequence of that. In addition being a single child I had to be present in my mother’s life (she used to live in Rome, Italy) and in particular during the last year of her life I travelled to Rome at least once every three weeks (the children were still very young, creating some challenges). It was only after all these that I received the promotion to Professor and I am sure that for all that reasons and because I did not “tick all the boxes” (including presentation at international meetings!) my acquisition of a Professorial title came later than for many of my male colleagues.